Thinking about going out of town this weekend? You might want to consider a change in plans — Columbia will be hopping on Saturday and Sunday with three events dedicated to some of summer’s favorite flavors — rose wine, a new IPA and tasty tacos.
Hop to Trot Festival
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Columbia Craft Brewing Company, 520 Greene St. Free with beer for purchase. www.columbiacraft.com.
Distinctive in their characteristic, hop-driven bitterness, India pale ales — IPAs — aren’t for everyone. But with the advent of Cryo Hops, which produce a smoother, less bitter brew, even light beer aficionados may be able to pick up a bit of IPA cred.
Columbia Craft Brewing Company’s first Cryo-Brew, which will be launched at the inaugural Hop to Trot Festival, will be a good place to start.
“It’s a Northeastern-style IPA, which is a bit softer and not as bitter,” says head brewer Shaun Piggott. “It’s brewed with a different yeast strain than our signature Famously Hop IPA, so instead of being super crisp, it’s full of stone fruit and tropical flavors.”
Set between the first two races of horse racing’s Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby earlier this month and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9 — the Hop to Trot festival will celebrate not just its signature ale, but horse racing as well. Come dressed in Derby-style attire (or revisit our Carolina Cup outfit tips). There will be a photo booth to document your good taste, and you might just win best dressed or best hat!
Besides a variety of beer, you’ll also be able to indulge in munchables from The Wolf Pizza Company and Fat Bellies Tacos; Chris Compton and The Black Iron Gathering will play; and giveaways will be offered every hour.
South Carolina Taco Festival
1-7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Columbia Speedway, 2001 Charleston Highway, Cayce. Admission tickets are $14.99 at www.tasteofyourtown.com/sctacofest. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Third date's a charm, right?
Columbia’s first taco festival has had a rocky start, postponing its first two dates, in October due to damaged equipment, then last month — despite being billed as a rain-or-shine event — because thunderstorms were expected.
Bad news: Thunderstorms are forecast this weekend, too. But the festival Facebook page on May 1 posted that the festival will happen "come hell or high water." In response to a commenter asking about the weather, organizers posted on Monday, "Festival is 100% moving forward."
The festival will offer tortilla-bound treats from more than 25 top taco purveyors; organizers have not released a full list of vendors since the latest date change, though they have said in Facebook posts that Tacos Tropical and Mayan Street Food are among them.
You won’t go thirsty, either. A Tiki bar will churn out all types of margaritas, cocktails and cold beer; purists can make their way to the tequila expo for to explore the nuances of more than 30 distilled agave spirits. We the Kings will perform, and the festival announced last week that its official charity partner is the Trauma Survivors Foundation.
Drink Pink Rose Festival
Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at City Roots, 1005 Airport Blvd. Tickets were $55 at www.f2tproductions.com, but they are sold out.
Ever wonder what the Ancient Greeks sipped as they were inventing the Olympics, democracy and geometry? Turns out it might have been rose wine, which they brought to what is now the South of France around 600 BC.
Less tannic than the harsh red wines of that era, rose remained the drink of choice, particularly in this part of France, for centuries. It still is, and it’s easy to see why.
Ranging from pale blush to nearly ruby-red, rose manages to be both easy to drink and interesting. It’s also refreshing, pairs well with a remarkable variety of foods (but is also terrific on its own) and is easy on the wallet.
If you’ve never tried rose — or your only experience involves the unfortunate beverage called blush wine — make plans to attend a future festival, where more than 80 roses are on hand, as well as tasty bites and paella created by Kristian Niemi and other chefs. Go ahead and set yourself a reminder for early next April — this festival regularly sells out.